Count Your Bites

79165729-1-In a study by Dr. Josh West, health sciences professor at Brigham Young University found that instead of counting calories to lose weight, you should count your bites. This can be helpful all year around but particularly during the new year. When you count your bites, you aren’t giving up any particular foods or eating other specific ones, but instead focusing on the food itself, the experience of eating and how many bites you take. Calorie counting is tedious and time consuming, particularly if you’re in a restaurant or at a friend or relative’s home. That makes many people skip their weight loss effort and gorge on all the delicious food available. Often stuffing food into their mouth without even experiencing its taste.

Counting bites includes everything, except water and other no calorie beverages.

If you’re slugging away Bailey’s and coffee, even though the coffee doesn’t have calories, the Bailey’s does. The same is true for coffee with cream or sugar. You’d count each swallow as a bite. Eating a stick of celery? It’s a bite even though it has very few calories. A bite of cheesecake counts the same as a bite of celery, so why wouldn’t you simply indulge in all fattening foods, rather than stick to salads? According to Dr. West, even if you eat fewer bites, but commit each and every bite to a dessert or higher calorie food, you won’t get the results you want. Stick to a well balanced meal when you do this.

Get a benchmark on bites first.

You need to establish the normal amount of bites your take before you begin counting them. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know the amount of bites to lower to achieve twenty percent less each day. If you’ve established you take 500 bites a day, for example, and lower it twenty percent, you’d reduce the number of bites to 400 a day. While this process might be a little cumbersome, it’s far easier than looking up each type of food and calculating the calories. You probably have an app on your phone that would allow you to log the number of bites and keep a running tally, so that can make it even easier. If you aren’t that technologically advanced, consider a small notepad to carry with you each day.

What happens if you run out of bites before you run out of day?

That’s an excellent question. The good doctor never noted it on his study, but a guess is that you go with water, black coffee or unsweetened tea the rest of the day. That alone would make you more mindful of the food you’re eating and being mindful of your bites can help reduce the amount of food you intake.

When you’re tracking your bites, it will slow you down and help you savor the flavor and enjoy each bite more.

Lowering the number of bites you take will eventually help you budget your bites if you’re diligently sticking to the program, particularly if you’ve gone a night on just bread and water—-sans the bread.

You need to be aware of good nutrition when you follow this program. If you’re only biting Kentucky fried chicken wings, extra crispy or otherwise, not only do you jeopardize the weight loss program, you jeopardize your health.

Counting the number of swallows for liquid is beneficial, since many drinks contain more calories than the average diet allows for a meal. Consider one of the super special Starbucks coffee drinks such as the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino that has 550 calories.

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